Dell fined $6.5M for 'error in pricing process' down under

Blunder made bundled monitors more expensive than standalone purchases

Australia's Federal Court has fined Dell AU$10 million ($6.5 million) for what the tech giant has called an error in its pricing processes.

As The Register has previously reported, from August 2019 to mid-December 2021 Dell's Australian arm offered shoppers who had acquired other products the chance to add a monitor to their purchases. Messages such as "Get the best price for popular accessories when purchased with this product" suggested that the add-ons were priced lower than would otherwise be the case.

But the supposedly special prices were often higher than those Dell charged for the monitors as a standalone purchase.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission(ACCC) pounced and took the matter to court. Dell was found to have misled customers, 'fessed up, and refunded or agreed to offer compensation to more than 4,250 affected consumers.

The matter has since returned to court, with the aforementioned fine the result.

Dell Australia sent The Register a statement that opened: "We are pleased that this is now behind us, and our focus can return to serving our Australian customers."

Interestingly, the language Dell uses to describe the incident has changed over time.

In a statement sent to The Register in June 2023, Dell described the incident as "an unrectified error on our part." Today's explanation is: "Due to an error in Dell's pricing processes, there was incorrect information displayed on our website about the pricing and savings associated with certain monitors."

Whatever you call it, Dell has promised it is "taking steps to improve our pricing processes to ensure this sort of error does not happen again."

As you would, with an eight-figure hole in your bottom line. ®

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